First up, this week Tristan Taormino joined me to announce the cancellation of in-person/face-to-face polyamory on my podcast and in my column. (Web-enabled poly is still allowed.) One reader/listener refuse to comply with our order to only fuck the people you're sheltering in place with...
I am completely violating your and Tristan's rules about poly distancing in this week's Savage Love. I'm the hinge in a poly "V" and live with neither of my partners—I live alone, in fact—but have been holing up with Partner #1 most of the time. Partner #1, however, is an introvert with a high-stress/essential-functions job and needs their alone time. For our relationship to survive, I gotta get out of the house. Partner #2 is a health-care worker who, while not treating coronavirus patients and in fact able to social-distance at work, doesn't have a big social network outside their adult children and is having a lot of anxiety over the whole deal. Partner #2's mental health depends on seeing me. As for me, I'm an extrovert who would go batty if I were alone in my small, dark house with no social contact. So, everyone's mental health, and the survival of the relationships, depend on our breaking the rules while being as careful as possible in our outside lives. Some of us have to weigh our mental health versus the risk of transmission.
If we start making exceptions for anxiety—at a time when everyone on earth is fucking anxious—then everyone is going to get a pass. And if we don't stay the fuck home and stay the fuck away from people we don't live with, kids, we're not going to flatten the curve, millions will die, and this pandemic will never end. You can rationalize your way to leaving your house and visiting both your partners but rationalizations don't confer immunity; a rationalization isn't a vaccine. That said, we all take calculated risks—I mean, I was out there having sex with other gay men at the height of the AIDS Crisis. But the informed choices I made during the worst years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic only put me and my sex partners at risk. When you move through the city to get to Partner #1's home and then move through the city to get to Partner #2's home and then move through the city to get back home, you're putting countless others at risk too. And that's... not okay.
Regarding my advice for PDDAD:
Your advice to PDDAD is horribly wrong, irresponsible, and dangerous! Cases of coronavirus are exploding in New York and all over because people are not taking this social distancing thing seriously. The epidemiologists are saying DO NOT COME INTO CONTACT WITH ANYONE OUTSIDE YOUR IMMEDIATE HOUSEHOLD. There is no grey area. ESPECIALLY with someone who is an ER doctor. You weren't paying attention when you wrote this answer, and neither was your guest Dr. Summers. His situation does not apply. He's LIVING WITH his family. The writer is talking about a casual, non live-in relationship. Please retract your advice publicly. This thing is very serious.
Did you read all the way to end of my response? Because I told PDDAD that she would have to move in with her boyfriend—that they would have to live together—if she wanted to "keep connecting," e.g. hugging, kissing, fucking, hanging out, etc. Here's the last paragraph of my response:
If you decide the risk of infection is too great—or if your boyfriend decides the risk of infecting you is too great—you can still be there for each other. You can Skype and Zoom, you can text and sext, you can leave groceries on his porch and wave to him from the sidewalk. But if you decide to keep connecting with each other in person, PDDAD, you should minimize the amount of time you spend moving through the city to get to each other’s places. And that means—emotional boundaries be damned—picking one of your apartments to hole up in together for the duration.
Perhaps I could've hit that point harder—like I did in my response to the exceptional poly folks above—but Dr. Summers and I both felt PDDAD would have to move in with her partner, the E.R. doc, if she wanted to see him, and stay put for the duration of the lockdown.
Just reaching out in response to CLOSE who feels stuck in her situation due to the virus and until this lockdown ends. She might not have to wait for her boyfriend to discuss his secret box of boobs with a professional, after all! I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist, Clinical Sexologist, and Certified Sex Therapist (licensed in both Florida and Illinois) who has temporarily switched to a completely online platform in light of the virus and the importance of social distancing. I’m not the only one, either, as many of my colleagues have adapted to meet the sexual and emotional needs of individuals and couples through online modalities such as FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. As I’ve experienced in my own professional practice, all of this extra couple time and, conversely, what I’m now referring to, in sessions, as social-sexual isolation has created a host of challenges for people on top of the everyday struggle to find basics like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Rest assured, help is out there! — Dr. Michael Ian Rothenberg
No, don't say, "I'm willing to make an effort" [clearly implied: towards staying married] if you're not willing. This is not a self-protection situation that justifies that lie. Say you're not in a place to do heavy relationship work during a pandemic. Say you're really not sure how to repair things but you don't think it's wise or kind to DIY it under stress. Say let's focus on being decent to each other and revisit the couples counseling when that can happen.
Hey, there! I work at a piercing and tattoo shop in Seattle and I am so sure Andrew Cuomo has his nipples pierced. You can see the barbells through the shirt.
I don't know a damn thing about nipple rings. I'm sure you and Brian Keith Thompson are greater authorities than I. But did you consider the possibility that it might be pasties? Maybe he didn't want his nipples to show through the shirt, so he added something either on his chest or on the shirt, but didn't realize that the "something" would then show instead?
As someone who has nipple rings, I feel confident saying he's pierced. I've seen that same pattern in the mirror.
— Michele Dainiak (@misha103) April 1, 2020
“Advice Columns You Were Just Sure Dan Savage Would Never Write” for $1000, Alex.
— David Kelley (@davidkelley718) April 1, 2020
While I was convinced that Cuomo's nipples were pierced—and said exactly that in Wednesday's SLLOTD—Gizmodo's Hudson Hongo's makes a very persuasive against Cuomo sporting barbells under that polo shirt. I'm officially agnostic now on the topic of Cuomo's tits.
Who doesn't love a nice thank-you note?
I never email, comment or write to podcasts, etc., but just wanted to THANK YOU for Episode 701. You covered my situation perfectly and I have been trying to find online answers to the very questions you addressed and you so far are the only one to have offered me answers. You may have saved my sanity, health & love life. Seriously! Thank you!
You're welcome! Seriously!
A very brief update from Spouse's Hairiness Averts Virile Erection:
SHAVE reports that he and his husband had "spectacular" sex after his husband lost the beard—incentive enough, one hopes, for his husband to keep his face smooth.
A reader took interest in the dustup over my misuse—my alleged misuse—of the word "disinterest":
I'm a longtime reader and fan and I'm finally moved to write in by a language usage question. Put it down to boredom from self-isolating at home in these times, but I am actually writing in to defend you. In the most recent Reader Advice Round-up you printed an email from a pedant who criticized your use of the word disinterest, saying that it meant being unbiased rather than showing a lack of interest as you used it. Dan, your usage was perfectly correct. Disinterest has two meanings: one is showing a lack of interest and the other is being unbiased. I would refer you to Wiktionary in particular, but I consulted a couple of other dictionaries and they all offered the "lack of interest" usage, in fact, some had this as the primary meaning. You shouldn't have caved, Dan. He was wrong and you were right. I hope lots of other people wrote in to defend you, too. Keep up the good work.
A couple of tweets about the show...
Is it possible to get a COVID-free Savage Lovecast? I'm extreme social distancing, but I'd like a Lovecast without COVID. The news is staggering and hurts. Or could Nancy add a spot at the top of the show. "Skip to XXX time in the show to skip COVID discussions." @fakedansavage
— JeffRutherford (@JeffRutherford) April 1, 2020
A lot of podcasts are understandably on hold at the moment. I felt remarkably reassured to open my podcast app this morning to find the weekly episode of the Savage Lovecast waiting. Thanks @fakedansavage and Nancy Hartunian, you're holding the world together.
— Annelle Sheline (@AnnelleSheline) March 31, 2020
We're planning a COVID-free episode of the show, Jeff, but it's going to be a week or two before we can make that happen.
Hope you're doing well, Dan. I read your column on Cuomo's possible nipple piercings yesterday and saw that you used the term "freak flag" a couple of times, so I thought I'd send these photos. A couple of years ago we turned the expression into a literal thing. It didn't catch on but it was fun! The concept was mine and @SpacePupSilver did the design work. — Squirm from Rubberzone/@RubberZone
Considering how many different pride flags are flapping around out there—you can see a bunch here but there are more—and considering how long people have been using the expression "let your freak flag fly," it's kinda crazy it took so long for someone to create an official freak flag! Here's Squirm's concept and Space Pup Silver's design...
And here's the freak flag flying:
Now that's a flag I would proudly salute, march under, pledge allegiance to, etc. Thanks for sharing, Squirm!
Okay, we're going to leave it there! I hope everyone has a nice weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!